Freedom, Determinism, and Responsibility: Readings in Metaphysics, 1st edition

  • Neil Campbell


This text introduces the central views and issues involved in the philosophical problem of free will—an area of high interest to undergraduate students. While the selections represent some of the most important works in the field. they are also accessible enough for students with very little background in philosophy. Classical and contemporary readings are provided to give students a feel both for the history of the problem and how it is confronted by modern philosophers.

  • Recent works in the area are included.
    • These help students see the relevance of the material in today's world.
  • Less-obscure, influential writings are included.
    • These introduce students to the works of prominent philosophers that have shaped philosophical debate.
  • There are section-opening introductions which provide more detailed explanations of' subsequent readings than most texts.
    • These give students a sense of the material they will need to master and enables professors to spend more, time critically discussing material than explaining it.
  • The broad historical perspective brings together both classical and contemporary writings and is not restricted to the philosophical views of a particular century.
    • This allows instructors to spend less time filling students in on historical origins of key ideas and provides instructors with contemporary reactions to the material.
  • Diverse views on the issues discussed are presented.
    • This exposes students to different ways of thinking about the material and helps instructors compare alternative approaches and identify preferred methods to understanding key concepts.

Table of contents


1. Determinism.

Philosophical Essay on Probability, Pierre Simon De LaPlace. The Case for Determinism, Brand Blanshard. Fate, Richard Taylor. Darwinism and Determinism, Michael Ruse.

2. Freedom.

Has the Self Free Will? C.A. Campbell. The Freedom of the Will, John Stuart Mill. Being and Doing: Freedom, Jean-Paul Sartre. On the Absolute Freedom of the Will, Bernard Berofsky. Quantum Mechanics, Free Will, and Determinism, Henry Margenau.

3. Responsibility.

Conditions of Responsibility for Action, Aristotle. What Means This Freedom? John Hospers. Liberty and Necessity, David Hume. Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility, Harry Frankfurt.

4. Reconciliations.

Actions, Reasons, and Causes, Donald Davidson. Mental Events, Donald Davidson. Self-Understanding and Rationalizing Explanations, Jaegwon Kim. Decision, Choice, Prediction and the Voluntary, A.I. Melden.

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Published by Pearson (November 21st 2002) - Copyright © 2003